MONTREAL, June 28, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Through this communique, President Claude Helwani of this Montreal based enterprise confirms that US Customs initiated an 8 millions$ lawsuit in the USA, resting on clerical errors that were duly corrected according to NAFTA requirements. He entirely relates the problem to the continuing silence by Canadian Government.
He added many requests were forwarded to Ottawa to stand up and correct this regretful but most menacing imbriglio. In the last concerted effort, an Executive summary of the situation was conveyed to three cabinet ministers before the official visit by the Honorable Trudeau to Washington last February with at least two of those ministers (Dion and Freeland). But to no avail.
President Helwani said he did receive confirmation by both American and Canadian specialized lawyers that US Customs tampers with Canada's own juridiction. This stems from their rejection of the very larger part of the official exportation certificates issued by the Department of World Affairs, in accordance with NAFTA requirements.
He also recalls that the Free Trade Agreement with the USA now (NAFTA) did provide for Tricots-Liesse a stimulus and an opportunity to find an attractive "niche" on the North American market: supplying sophisticated European style products for the "haut de gamme" american garnment industry selling high quality ladies wear. 35 millions$ were spent to build a state of the art facility (250,000 sq. ft) housing cutting edge technology. 180 employees are currently on the site and 80% of the production is sold to USA. This integrated company is the only one of its kind in Canada, and one of very few in North America.
Tricots-Liesse explains that its basic raw material is yarn. If its origin is one of NAFTA three countries the export document is NAFTA's. Otherwise, but this DOES NOT BEAR ANY CHANGE IN THE DUTY FREE STATUS of the end product. Official export certificates (TPL must then be obtained from the Government of Canada).
But US Customs have accepted submission for only 12 months, instead of 60, alledging that the delay had elapsed. Both sides of the border lawyers have confirmed that no such delay exist in NAFTA for those adjustment of channel. US customs makes use of an existing twelve month delay enabling a company that paid duties on its export and realised it could obtain reimbursement because they found out they were qualified under NAFTA. Tricots-Liesse always claimed NAFTA and therefore never requested any reimbursement. Its products are duty free under NAFTA, as confirmed by the Government of Canada, which is hereby requested to have it reconized by its partner in NAFTA !
An enterprise, as dynamic as it may be in its own business, does not have the competence, the capacity nor the mandate to settle a differend between two countries having signed an internatioal treaty. But Canada, concluded Mr. Helwani, is directly challenged in its own jurisdiction by US customs. The Government must act with authority and celerity to solve this most serious matter impending the future of Tricots-Liesse and its 180 employees, truly a success story !
In that regard, the holding of the annual NAFTA meeting in Ottawa on June 29 constitutes an exceptionnal occasion to settle this unimaginable imbriglio.